Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The fate of Denmark hangs in the balance...

I went over to Grimsby on Saturday to help umpire the first day of the latest in the CP6 series of Cold War Commander megagames.

CP6 has its origins in the first couple of Dungworth Crisis Point weekends - before I got bored with putting on CWC games and decided to switch to Arc of Fire.  Over the years the players, especially Richard Phillips and the Grimsby guys, have accumulated some magnificent terrain and lovely armies.

Here are some pics, starting with the upstairs room:

The upstairs team (l to r): Rodger, Andy B and Mark F (NATO),
?, Jason, Andy H and Keith (Warpac)
Downstairs - Danny (NATO) on the right this time.
The Grimsby club's venue is terrific. It has all the features you could possibly want (with the possible exception of a licensed bar) and is actually owned by the club!

The upstairs table from the far end - Umpire Steve G
in the GWS shirt.

Downstairs - the Warsaw Pact forces (East Germans in the
foreground) had to try and cut the main highway. The pink
Squares mark a major minefield in front of Alan M's Belgians.

Andy M's Soviet Horde

Danish coastal defence guns on the hill - from the
pocket battleship Scharnhorst if I recall correctly.
The upstairs table seen from the Umpires' position. Godfather of CP6 Richard Phillips on
the extreme left.

Warsaw Pact air assets awaiting on call

Likewise NATO (apart from the Tu-160 Blackjack and
Tu-22 Blinder in the background).
The effect of NATO cluster bombs on Soviet armour
By the end of day one the Soviets are beginning to contest
control of the airport at Aarhus. On day two NATO will be
restricted to carrier-borne air support.
L to R - Simon, Danny and Andy T
Mark J's East Germans - how are they to get across that

I have to say I think we've probably pushed this set of rules further than they were designed to go.  Games at this side are far from fast-moving. However, I did come away from the day enthused to play a little more with somewhat more manageable forces.  The house rules seemed to work pretty well and there were refreshingly few rules disagreements.

Better pictures of the Camden game

The pictures in the previous post about our Sharp Practice AWI game were rather poor - I only had my iPhone with me.   Fortunately, Chris has sent me some of his pics.

Below we see the smaller of Stoof's two line infantry units firing from behind a stone wall while his light infantry move to the flank.  The lights would subsequently fight my skirmishers to mutual destruction.

And then we have a later shot showing Stoof's bigger unit about to start slogging across the ploughed field.  The grey blob in front of them is some smoke that arrived as part of a firing random event.  The white smoke in both pics shows units that need to take a reload action before they can fire again.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Somewhere near Camden, 1780

Last night I went over to new mate Chris’s house to play a game of Sharp Practice.  As a new wargamer, Chris has done a lovely job of equipping himself with toys and terrain. A very pretty table and some lovely 28mm American War of Independence figures were awaiting us. At least I think they were; I’d managed to forget my glasses so I was largely commanding by braille.  I took a few photos on my phone but the lighting wasn't really suitable.

We played a simple scenario in which yours truly played the rebellious colonials. Washington's lads had their backs to a river and had to hold off a similarly sized force of British regulars. My troops were a mixture of State Line troops, some of them classed as Continentals. Not bad as far as quality goes but out-classed by the British who also started off with higher Force Morale.

The battlefield had an impassable river at one end. A road ran down the length of the table to a T-junction where it met another road along the river bank.  To the right of the road the British would have to traverse a wood and then a ploughed field before reaching a fence-line that would undoubtedly be held by the rebels. On the left was another field, this one surrounded by stout and high stone walls.    

Chris’s friend Stoof, playing his first ever wargame, commanded the British. He started by pushing forward a group of skirmishers on his left. I responded with a similar group on my right.  These two would later exchange shots before wiping each other out in a singularly bloody bout of fisticuffs.

The battle then settled down into an exchange of shots between the line infantry of the two sides. This should probably have comfortably gone the way of the British except that I had suddenly discovered a hitherto-unknown ability to roll copious quantities of sixes!

Unfortunately, the melee had cost me the maximum amount of Force Morale points. Thanks to yet more rolling of five and six I lost four points! If we hadn’t run out of time I’m sure Stoof would eventually have prevailed.  I had an excellent time though.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Strengthening the Legions

Last weekend's trip to visit my Mum in Wirral also gave me a chance to pop into the War Game Store in Brimstage.

I picked up these guys:

Another 60 Legionaries will give me a very usable little Republican Roman army. I'm a little disappointed that the velites-and-command-figures sprue is identical to the previous legions-in-chainmail box but that's not a problem.  Most of the velites in this box are going to be converted into unarmoured hastati.

I have a choice now. Should I keep going with Carthaginians until I've finished my second unit of citizen levy spearmen or should I start painting Italians straight away?  Keep looking out for updates!

Whilst at the shop I also invested in a second TIE Bomber for X-Wing.  I'm planning a scenario based around a strike mission for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


We've seen the Roman army that emerged from July's trip to Brimstage.  Now I've finished the first Carthaginian unit that owes its origins to the same shopping expedition.

These Carthaginian citizen levy spearmen are mostly by Victrix. There's also a Black Tree Spartan and a couple of Foundry types in there too.

They will be treated as Hoplites in To The Strongest!

Next up is a unit of Gallic cavalry.  Perfect as mercenaries in the army of Carthage.

These guys are all by Warlord Games.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I really hate these Warlord Games waterslide transfers!

This shield decoration has been on and off the front of the shield three times as I try to flatten it down.  In the end it's only stayed in place because I somehow managed to keep it in one piece whilst painting the surface of the shield with watered-down PVA before reapplying the decal with a wet paintbrush.

I think I'm probably going to abandon the rest of them and do hand-painted shield designs.

Monday, September 11, 2017

On the Workbench - More Ancients

More progress on the plastic Victrix guys from my Gauntlet/Wargames Store trip. These Carthaginian  citizen spearmen are nearly complete:

There are three metal figures mixed in and they give a pleasing heft to the unit.  I guess these are later models than the Victrix Romans as the spears are much finer. So much so that I've already broken and re-glued one of them.

Next up are these Gallic cavalry from a Warlord Games box I picked up cheap at Wargames Emporium in Sheffield.

These are an interesting lot. The horses and the legs of the riders are single-piece white metal castings. Upper bodies , shields and weapons come in the form of a sprue from Warlord's plastic Celtic Warriors box (complete with a load of spare infantry legs).

I'm not 100% convinced of the believability of some of the upper body poses as riders rather than charging foot warriors.  Also some of the upper bodies are a little slim for the white metal waistbands they sit in.

By the way, the white metal casting has a concave upper surface into which the convex torso fits.  I've found the best way to join these is with a drop of superglue followed by a small blob of Green Stuff followed by another drop of superglue.  Press down, clear up anything that squeezes out of the join and leave to set.

I also have to say that I'm unimpressed by the waterslide shield transfers that came with the models.  They are excessively glossy and, when they finally deign to come off the backing paper, distinctly lacking in adhesive power.  I've had to try and run thinned down PVA under the edges to hold them in place on the shield.

There are 10 figures in the box. I plan to finish one unit of four before the weekend, when another trip to Wirral might see more toys arriving from the Wargames Store.  Another four will give me a second Gallic unit whilst the remaining two may go towards the Gallic/Germanic bodyguard of a Numidian king.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Senatus Populusque Romanus

About fifteen months ago I was visited by a realisation. If I accepted the "that-looks-good-enough-at-arm's-length" approach I could paint 28mm figures at a reasonable pace. That way I could retain my interest long enough to get a small but usable force completed before my brain flitted off to some other project.

The new approach allowed me to complete Swiss, Burgundian, Late Roman and Bacaudae forces for Lion Rampant and now I've managed to finish a whole box of Victrix Republican Romans.

Based for To The Strongest! these guys form the basis of a Polybian Roman legion.  I need to add an ala of cavalry. I have the figures from Curteys; just need to get them assembled, painted and based.

The legion consists of three units of velites (Light Infantry, javelin) ...

...and two of hastati (Legionaries, small)...

... it's the unit that's small, not the men by the way. And then we have two units of principes (Legionaries, veteran, small)...

You'll note that the second unit of principes are on to half-sized bases. This was a late decision. I suddenly realised that I could add a 4cm wide base to an 8cm wide "small" unit to make a unit at my standard 12cm element width.  This would allow me to use these guys as post-Marian-reform cohorts for, say, the later stages of the Jugurthine War or perhaps even for Caesar's campaign in Gaul.

And finally, it comes down to the triarii...

These old lags of the Roman army are Hoplites, veteran, small in TTS! terms.  I'm going to repaint their plumes in black and white. That will help players less familiar with the army to distinguish between the three types of legionaries (all my hastati have red plumes and all my principes purple).

Oh and finally, finally we have this, intentionally nameless, legate commanding the force...

These guys are never going to win any painting prizes but they are finished, and finished in just two months; the box of figures was purchased on 3rd July from the Wargames Store in Brimstage.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Officers of the Borsetshires - Rolica

As I reported recently, we used the Sharp Practice rules to generate the characters of a selection of officers from the Borsetshire Regiment.  I intend to come back to these guys on an occasional basis as we follow the Regiment through the War in the Peninsula.  Having done this I thought it would be a good idea to record the result here in case the original paper copy gets lost.

We start with some of the battalion officers and then go on to the officers of the Light Company, who will be the main focus of our games.

Lt Col Pargeter is the commanding officer of the battalion. He comes from new money and has extravagant wealth. He is of average build and a good looking chap. Honourable and charming, he is a stunning linguist.  He's a Level IV leader.

The first of the battalion majors is Major Markham (a Level II leader). An honourable chap, he rose from the ranks to his current elevated position. Though fair of face he is a sickly cove. He is thoroughly disliked by officers and men alike (the men prefer to be led by a real gentleman).

The other major in the battalion is Major Tavington. Like the Colonel he comes from new money but is personally impoverished. Perhaps his mill-owner father disapproved of his career choice?  Tavington is of average stamp and fair of face. He is affable but is secretly a cad.  He's another Level II leader.

Sergeant Major Horsham is the Borsetshires' Quartermaster. Thoroughly disliked (but what efficient Sergeant Major isn't?), Horsham is a good looking chap but a sickly cove, having suffered greatly from an ague contracted during the campaign in the Low Countries. He's a Level II leader.

We now come to the officers of the Light Company. Captain Archer (of course) commands the company.  He's a Level III leader and a former gentleman ranker. Diminutive and of plain and unremarkable looks he is a thoroughly dislikable cad.

The light company's senior lieutenant is Lt Villiers (a Level II leader).  Coming from a military family he is very conscious of the honourable behaviour expected of a gentleman and an officer. Though fair of face he is a diminutive chap and very sensitive about his height. His short temper and wicked tongue lead others to regard him as a vile individual.  Despite this, the Colonel was happy with is performance at Rolica.

In that regard he is matched by the company's junior lieutenant. Beastly Lt Rogerson shares his brother lieutenant's military background but unlike the poverty-stricken Villiers, Rogerson's uncle is a General and he enjoys money and influence.  A giant of a man, Rogerson is fair of face. He's another Level II leader.

Sergeant Grundy (Level I leader) is a strapping fellow but hideously scarred. He's a vile individual who rules his men with a rod of iron.

The other light company sergeant is Sergeant Walter (also a Level I leader). Another strapping fellow and a handsome devil he is affable and popular with the men.

The company's three corporals are all Level I leaders.  Amos Able is a sickly cove, though a handsome devil. He's a vile individual despised by all.  Michael Norris is a strapping fellow, though plain and unremarkable of visage.  He manages to make himself thoroughly dislikable. And finally we have John Brown. He is something of a mystery, rumour having it that he is the illegitimate offspring of some noble house. This flashing blade taught fencing to gentlemen before joining the army.  He is fair of face and an affable fellow.  Brown did a solid job when the light company first encountered the French near Rolica.

So there we have it. With the exception of Colonel Pargeter, Sergeant Walter and the mysterious Corporal Brown, the current crop of leaders don't have a great deal to recommend them. I wonder if the Borsetshires are a happy regiment at this time?